Rick Steves has been the "travel guinea pig" for American Public Television since Travels in Europe with Rick Steves debuted in April of 1991. In his program, Rick shows some out-of-the-way places the average traveler misses, offers countless travel tips, and always enjoys being immersed in the adventure.
Burgundy is a calm and cultivated corner of France, where fine living is intimately tied to nature and traditions run strong. We'll slow down to enjoy the region's edible, drinkable, scenic, and floatable delights. We'll travel on a canal barge, visit a medieval hospice and a modern monastery, build a barrel, appreciate fine Burgundy wine, slurp escargot, and eat very, very well. If you're looking for quintessential French culture, you'll find it in Burgundy.
The Dordogne River Valley — with its dramatic castles, evocative cave paintings, and prized cuisine — is an unforgettable blend of man-made and natural beauty. We'll take an idyllic canoe ride, and then visit a goose farm and savor the foie gras. We'll also wander through a lamp-lit castle, enjoy a country market, and visit the Sistine Chapel of the prehistoric world. Then we head south to Albi, home of Toulouse Lautrec, and the imposing fortress city of Carcassonne.
The creative spirit of Spain's Catalunya — the land of Picasso, Gaudi, and Salvador Dali — is on a roll. We'll get caught up in the festivity of Barcelona, enjoying the vibrant street scenes, tasty tapas, and pedestrian-friendly Gothic Quarter. Then we'll take a scenic side trip to mountaintop Montserrat, and finish with an artist's pilgrimage along the Costa Brava to Salvador Dali country. In seaside Cadaques, we'll visit Dali's home, and in nearby Figures, we'll experience his playfully surreal mausoleum/museum.
Don't blink as we blitz through Europe's tiniest countries: Vatican City, the world's smallest country, comes with the planet's biggest church. The fairytale princedom of Monaco lures visitors with its fancy casino and glamorous views. Italy's last independent hill town of San Marino still looks formidable, as does the castle-guarded principality of Liechtenstein. And tiny Andorra entertains shoppers and hikers alike, surrounded by the rugged beauty of the Pyrenees.
In this episode, we'll focus on an often-overlooked side of Switzerland — Luzern, Bern, Zurich, and Lausanne. Enjoying the country's urban charms, we'll get some exercise, from ringing a very big bell to doing a little river rafting — without the raft. We'll also enjoy a variety of eye-opening art, from Chagall and Klee to pieces created by inmates of an asylum. Then we'll ponder a few Swiss innovations, from their open-minded drug policies to their hush-hush underground arsenals. And it's all before a backdrop of Switzerland's stunning natural beauty.
For centuries, Vienna was the crown jewel of the rich and powerful Habsburg Empire. A century after that empire's fall, the Viennese appreciate their imperial legacy as a cultural wellspring — and an excuse to live in style. We'll take in the city's wealth of elegant gardens, great art and fine music. Then we'll explore the city's surroundings, with a trip along the romantic Danube River and a hike through the breathtakingly Baroque Melk Abbey.
Few travelers venture beyond Prague to experience the Czech Republic's many cultural riches and offbeat delights. We'll get you started with a whirlwind of Art Nouveau, local pub music, stinky cheese-tasting, river-rafting, and peat-bathing in places like Olomouc, Moravsky Krumlov, Trebon, and Konopiste. We'll also tour a remarkable memorial to the Holocaust in Terezen, and the charming castle town of Cesky Krumlov.
The thriving capital of Greece sprawls out from the foot of its magnificent Acropolis. We'll tour the must-sees of ancient Athens: the Parthenon, Agora, and amazing National Archaeological Museum. We'll take the fast-paced pulse of the modern city, but waste no time getting to my favorite side-trip destinations: the ruins of the mystical oracle at Delphi and a fast boat to the romantic, traffic-free Isle of Hydra.
Island getaways are fun, but the real heart of Greece is found in the Peloponnese Peninsula. After enjoying the charming old port town of Nafplio, we'll time-trip through the ruins of Olympia, take center stage at the remarkably preserved theater at Epidauros, and explore the ancient capital of Mycenae. Then we'll wander off the beaten path along the rustic, rough-and-tumble Mani Peninsula, relax in the idyllic beach town of Kardymli, and marvel at Greece's Rock of Gibraltar: the fortress town of Monemvasia.
Denmark's capital is the most fun-loving in Scandinavia. As we get to know Copenhagen, we'll discover reminders of its Viking history and see reflections today of its proudly independent ways. We'll stroll down Europe's first great pedestrian boulevard, ogle crown jewels in the palace treasury, and take a bike ride through an inspirational hippie squatter community, finishing at Copenhagen's full-time carnival, Tivoli Gardens.
Using Copenhagen as a springboard, we'll visit the very best of Denmark. Aarhus welcomes us with its ruddy affluence, charming open-air museum, and eerily well-preserved, ancient bog man. Roskilde impresses visitors with its royal burial church and the best Viking ship museum anywhere. And the delightfully quaint Isle of Aerø comes with half-timbered cottages, ships in bottles, and cobbled alleyways that remind us of the world of Hans Christian Andersen.
Where Europe comes face to face with Asia, we'll explore the fascinating, multilayered city of Istanbul. We'll lose our way in the Grand Bazaar and munch our way through the famously fragrant Spice Market. We'll follow the fall of the ancient capital of Byzantium and the rise of Islam at the city's ancient wall, and wander among the treasures of the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace. To escape the city bustle, we'll cruise the churning waters of the Bosphorus, make friends over backgammon, and try a traditional Turkish bath.
As he's done with previous programs on Israel, Egypt, and Eastern Turkey, Rick takes us beyond Europe to a place that's rich with history...and mystery. Visiting Tehran, Shiraz, Persepolis, and a small village, we'll get a rare present-day look at of some of civilization's most important historical sites, and a sense of Iran's 21st-century culture. From architecture and art to faith and everyday living, "Iran, Yesterday and Today" offers a rare, candid, and humanizing look at a great if perplexing nation.
As he's done with previous programs on Israel, Egypt, and Eastern Turkey, Rick takes us beyond Europe to a place that's rich with history...and mystery. In this first of two half-hour shows on Iran, Rick dodges traffic in Tehran, enjoys the tranquility of a nearby village, and encounters both anti-American propaganda and a warm welcome from everyday Iranians.
Iran's rich history goes back millennia, to the days when Persepolis was home to the "king of kings." In this episode, we explore three historic capitals of Iran: Persepolis, with its splendid monuments; Shiraz, with the tombs of Iran's most beloved poets; and Isfahan, with its extraordinary mosques and endearing people.